This letter was written by Carlos Bates (1808-1878), the son of Erastus Bates (1764-1826) and Amelia Higley (1779-1838) of East Granby, Hartford County, Connecticut. He wrote the letter to his older brother, Anson Bates (1799-1879). A sister, Laura Bates (1813-1884) is also mentioned. Carlos eventually married Hannah Spencer Stowell (1820-18xx) in 1861 and took up farming in East Granby. Some of the papers of Carlos Bates are housed in the Connecticut State Library Archive where his biography indicates that Carlos was “an East Granby merchant, peddler, money-lender, etc.” Brother Anson was a “lawer and justice of the peace.”
Addressed to Anson Bates, Esqr., East Granby, Hartford County, Connecticut
January 12th 1836
Your favor of September 3d & of October & the line by Mr. Wilkinson have been duly received, the last of which about 3 weeks since. You will please receive my thanks for the regularity & prompitude of your communications while I have no other excuse but negligence for not answering you sooner. I regretted some little that my communications should have been made a matter of comment so much as to bear on any persons interest & that too in some degree from misconstruction. But what is past, I care not, for I expect that when Lewis was at home last summer, he heard so much from different sources & that too very much exaggerated by the reporters. He felt rather hard towards me as it had a tendency to cause him to pay higher wages & he wrote to his brother here about it & since he came on he came here to see me & spoke to me about it but in a very mild & becoming manner. Laura says he was pretty topping there but he is not topping here or not to me. I told him I did say to Alfred that if he was doing well at the Factory, I thought perhaps he had better stay there & he seemed to say & think that I did right. But be it as it may, I care not.
I have regained my health as well as ever & am not in desponding spirits. The winter here thus far has been delightful. We have had but few white posts for our cold weather & it has generally been pleasant. The crops here of cotton & corn were very good but the sugar crop was very light which will cause sugar to be high the coming season. They are demanding $10 percent by the hogshead at the works. The two boxes you sent me last spring I have got the large one about 6 weeks since. I have heard the other was in [New] Orleans & wrote to have it sent to me here. I shall go to the Landing tomorrow & see if it has come. The box [I] got had been wet & some injured but I shall do well enough with it. I have sold about $80 & not sold half yet.
As to my affairs there, I can say nothing more than I have said settle them up the best you can. Use your own discretion. You spoke in one letter of Soper & Clark having overpaid me the balance. You can pay them after deducting 7½ percent for selling which they & me both had to pay. I wish you would settle up all you can & have it in notes on interest & make them pay the interest on their accounts. I think you had better settle with H. Griswold. I expect he will be a little slippery but you keep his bill & I shall know I have it all in my head. If you think he is gouging too much, let him pay about the balance as he has it & credit him so much on account & I will make the settlement with him. I wish you would pay Flora if you can raise money enough as I don’t wish to be paying interest & I wish you to write me how much I have there that is good & commendable after paying all debts as I wish to make square works with the world once more.
Nothing has transpired here worthy of my relation. We had a very sickly summer. _____ & one young man by the name of Chapman from Collinsville [CT] who came on with us a collector for Case & Barber died. The rest of Lewis Co. have all been sick except himself (Chandler), I believe & he is pickled down, bullet proof. Clapp & Day came off no better than me & I believe not as well.
You spoke in one letter of Day’s Note not being paid. Phelps when he let me have it said that if Day did not come to pay it before he went away, Joel Holcomb pledges his honor that he would & if neither paid it, C. Phelps pledged me his honor that he would. But be it as may, Day is good enough for it here & he told me when coming on that he left the money with Joel Holcomb to pay it. I told him that I had it & had left it with you & he said all right as Joel would pay it. I have not seen Day nor either of the company since we arrived except the two Lewis’ twice each & Clapp who traveled in the same section with me last winter & I have not seen him since last spring early.
It is uncertain with me now whether I shall come home next summer or not. When I saw Chauncey Lewis about 3 weeks since. He asked if I wished to go home or stay another year. I told him I would stay if they wished to increase the temptation to suit me & he said he would write me & let me know before long as he wished to see how many of his new hands he would have to dismiss. They have dismissed, I believe, two of those who came on with me but this is confidential (If they wish to give me $720 for the coming year, I think I shall stay; if not, I shall not). (Confidential) but shall return in July next.
I have no plans now to remain here. Last summer was an extraordinary time. It was scary times with the natives of the country. I am yet traveling in the French settlements & speak the language sufficient for common business chat which is one degree ahead of any of our northern boys & which I expect is one important reason why they will wish to retain me, Now please continue your favors & the rest of the family. Laura, I expect, is married by this time by what you have written me & good luck attend her while my anxious recollections & sympathetic feelings remain with you all.
I remain your affectionate brother, — Carlos Bates
N. B. Please write to this place for the moment.